Dominique Lamb Message spend

Running a retail business is filled with plenty of challenges – managing a roster, ensuring there’s enough money at the end of each pay cycle to pay everyone (including yourself), and navigating the ups and downs of the economy, just to name a few. However, there is one challenge which in an ideal world retailers should be able to do without – petty crime.

According to a recent Australian and New Zealand Retail Crime Survey, shoplifting now accounts for almost 60 per cent of total losses. And even more worryingly, this is a trend that is on the rise. In the current economic environment particularly, achieving a healthy revenue stream has been tough enough without shoplifters eating into your bottom-line.

So, what are three proactive measures you can adopt to deter shoplifters from walking out the door (literally) with your profits?

First, make sure your store is as open as possible with few blind spots. Petty thieves thrive in physically congested outlets where they are out of sight. If appropriate, installing clearly visible CCTV cameras is also a good way to dissuade any would-be shoplifter.

Moreover, if you operate in a tightly fit store ensure your staff are trained to have a strong presence. Simply doing a walkthrough of the store can reduce the likelihood of petty crime taking place, not to mention it also makes for good customer service. Items such as baby formula, meat and face creams are among the items most commonly stolen and these products are generally found in the aisle lanes of the respective store. Simply having an employee waking by in close proximity can make a shoplifter think twice before grabbing an item.

Finally, make sure there is a clear procedure in place that all staff understand should an act of shoplifting occur. Dealing with an offender – particularly for young and inexperienced staff – can be a confronting experience. However, if there is an easy to understand process in place as to how to interact with a thief and report the matter to the authorities, this can alleviate much of the stress and hopefully not see the perpetrator walk free.

Of course, there are many other measures that can be put in place to safeguard your business from petty theft. Many of these vary depending on the physical size of the outlet, the products sold and the location of the business. But getting the basics right is always the first step in implementing an effective solution and the above tips are essential in deterring the scourge of shoplifters.

All the best for the week ahead!